JOSEPH CILIBRASI, WAS INDICTED FOR DEFRAUDING CLIENTS IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment and arraignment of JOSEPH CILIBRASI, 50, and CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES, INC. ("CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES"), for the theft of approximately $1.48 million from two clients. As the owner and president of CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES, CILIBRASI, a non-CPA accountant, provided tax accounting and business management services primarily to individuals and entities in the entertainment industry. The defendant and his business have been charged with one count each of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. CILIBRASI is also charged with one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree.[1] The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between January 2, 2002, and September 23, 2010.

"This defendant ingratiated himself to his victims and gained their trust over a period of many years in order commit the crimes he is charged with," said District Attorney Vance. "Using money that he was not rightfully entitled to, JOSEPH CILIBRASI tried to emulate the lives of the clients he was hired to serve. I would like to thank the prosecutors and investigators who uncovered his fraud, and commend his victims for their bravery in coming forward."

According to documents filed in court, CILIBRASI stole more than $1.4 million from actress Tamara Tunie, an actor on Law & Order: SVU. In the early 1990s, Tunie hired CILIBRASI as her business manager, to pay her personal and professional bills and prepare her tax returns. In 2002, CILIBRASI secretly opened a credit card in Tunie's name, and then secured his own card on the account by falsely listing himself as her spouse. By 2003, the defendant had begun signing checks from Tunie's business accounts, despite the fact that she had not granted him the authority to do so. In 2006, to make his thefts easier to commit and less likely to be detected, CILIBRASI tricked Tunie into completing a new signature card for her main business checking account by telling her it was instead for a different account. He then added himself as a signatory on the account. For years, CILIBRASI wrote checks to himself, his business, or "Cash" from Tunie's accounts. He deposited many checks into his personal account and CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES business accounts. The defendant cashed other checks himself, or instructed one of his employees to cash them on his behalf. CILIBRASI also added himself to Tunie's business payroll as an employee and, later, an independent contractor.

According to documents filed in court, CILIBRASI also stole approximately $75,000 from Michael Stern, a conductor and the music director of the Kansas City Symphony. Stern had retained CILIBRASI and his business to prepare his tax returns. In April 2007, Stern met with the defendant at his office on West 24th Street to write a check to cover CILIBRASI's fees and make tax return extension payments to the Internal Revenue Service and the Missouri Department of Revenue. CILIBRASI pocketed the tax money, as he had done in 2003 with one of his past clients, Robin Frank Management. In 2004, CILIBRASI pled guilty to stealing more than $39,000 from Robin Frank Management, and was ordered to pay full restitution.

Approximately $400,000of the funds that CILIBRASI stole were converted into cash, according to documents filed in court. The defendant used the rest to run his business; take vacations to destinations including Los Angeles, Italy, and Puerto Rico; invest in theater and film projects including Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde: The Musical, and See You in September; and hire a screenwriter to write a script about Bannerman Castle, a historic structure located on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River. The District Attorney's investigation into the defendants' criminal activity continues.

Assistant District Attorney Peirce R. Moser is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Richard Weber, Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; Assistant District Attorneys Adam Miller and Polly Greenberg, Deputy Chiefs of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Adam S. Kaufmann, Chief of the Investigation Division. The following individuals assisted in the investigation: Peter Chicola, Supervising Account Investigator of the Financial Crimes Bureau; Detectives Donald Kennedy and James Zaccari of the District Attorney's NYPD Office Squad; and Trial Preparation Assistants Weston Howe and Elah Lanis.

Defendant Information:

JOSEPH CILIBRASI, D.O.B. 04/21/1960
New York, NY

Charges:

Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count

CILIBRASI & ASSOCIATES, INC.
New York, NY

Charges:

Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count

A class B felony in punishable by up to 25 years in prison, a class C felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and a class E felony is punishably by up to 4 years in prison.

Comments

  1. How is this crook still operating in Manhattan?

    http://www.cilibrasi.com/

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  2. innocent until proven guilty?

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  3. I was a client of his and although I don't have the funs of Ms. Tunie, my husband and I wondered why his fees were going up substantially each year. Also, our returns kept diminishing and now I wonder if he stole from regular people.

    I hope he goes to jail but I feel so bad for his two daughters.

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  4. This crook definitely needs to go to jail.

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  5. I can only report about my own experience. This man messed up 3 years of my taxes, no made clear to me when the IRS audited my tax returns. He has cost me tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and thousands in interest penalties. When I contact the office to discuss, Cilibrasi does not return my calls. The friends that I have referred to him over the years have shared my experiences. I don't wish ill on anyone, but this man deserves a big exception. I hope he is convicted because he needs to be held accountable for his crimes and the general public needs to be protected from his incompetent accounting. STAY AWAY FROM THIS FIRM !!!

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  6. oh.. he is guilty now. Say hi to the boys for me.

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  7. I've shared the same experience with him. For the last 5 years his fees kept increasing and my returns were less. Half to be exact, he kept telling me that the laws had changed.

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    Replies
    1. do not worrie all life is a full circle what comes around goes around just remember bubba will take care of him lol

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  8. i hope bubba gets ahold of him in the big house lol

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  9. I was in the same boy scout troop as this guy as a kid. I guess he forgot the scout law of his youth. Never would have guessed all those years ago he turn into such a dirt bag

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  10. He charged a lot and his fees always were a little higher each year but I must admit ... he always got me a decent return. Some of my friends were not lucky though ... they got audited and had to give a lot back to Uncle Sam. I really thought he was a nice dude but obviously a sheep in wolves clothing !

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  11. I knew him as a kid, we went to school together in Brooklyn. He was a very nice fellow back then. I guess the love of money IS indeed the root of all evil.

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  12. I guess he is expecting to be out in time for his June wedding

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